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willemite

willemite

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Hieroglyph: Stories and Blueprints for a Better Future
Neal Stephenson
Ukraine: Zbig's Grand Chessboard & How the West Was Checkmated
Natylie Baldwin, Kermit D. Larson
The Girl on the Train: A Novel
Paula Hawkins
Our Souls at Night: A novel
Kent Haruf
Above the Waterfall
Ron Rash
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Stephen King
Designs on Film: A Century of Hollywood Art Direction
Cathy Whitlock
The Homicide Report: Understanding Murder in America
Jill Leovy
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
Erik Larson
The Gods of Mars
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone - Rajiv Chandrasekaran Baghdad’s Green Zone is a world unto itself, with its own power supply, water, restaurants. One need never leave, and many never do. The author describes the separateness of the place but uses that as a base from which to foray out to related subjects. Some of his examples are particularly poignant. One enterprising fellow built a pizzeria just outside the compound, only to discover that the Americans all eat inside. He talks much about the plague of outsourcing and how it resulted in oddities like sending laundry to Kuwait to be done. He offers many examples of earnest people trying to do good, but being stymied by either the impracticality of their dreams or interference from a completely politicized administration. He devotes considerable space to the process whereby so-called sovereignty was handed over to the locals. Despite the vast sums allocated by the USA for this enterprise it seems that many of those attempting to actually reconstruct Iraq were always sorely lacking in funds. There was a ridiculous level of bad-faith dealing between the CPA, which was aligned with the Defense Department and any personnel operating at the behest of State. They refused them funds, and even threatened violence against at least one State rep. This is yet another portrayal of the bounteous ineptitude of an administration that put ideology and partisanship ahead of any form of practicality. It continues to be shocking. Bremer features heavily here, as an imperious dictator, but with some tempering of the dark portrayal. While the gist of the content is certainly familiar, it is useful, nonetheless, to have the gist filled in with a host of details. A worthwhile if not a required read.